Marketplace Fairness Act moves forward

The Marketplace Fairness Act, introduced as a bill more than 16 months ago, may finally be up for a vote in the senate next week.

The bill states, “It is the sense of the Congress that States should have the ability to enforce their existing sales and use tax laws and to treat similar sales transactions equally, without regard to the manner in which the sale is transacted, and the right to collect – or decide not to collect – taxes that are already owed under state law.”

While opponents are concerned that the bill would create a burden on sellers and consumers to collect and pay the tax, supporters believe the Act will help retailers with a physical presence, or brick and mortar location, be able to compete with the price of online stores.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada filed a motion on Tuesday to begin the process of putting the Marketplace Fairness Act on the Senate calendar.  Some sources are saying it will not be up for debate until a vote on gun control, and the Act will not be introduced until early May.  Other sources believe the Marketplace Fairness Act will be introduced as early as Monday, April 22, and a vote could come as early as next week.

Last month, 75 senators voted in a non-binding resolution to allow states to tax online sales. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled online stores do not have to collect sales taxes in states where they lack any presence.  The result is states lose billions a year in sales taxes, and physical businesses are put at a competitive disadvantage since shoppers will work to avoid paying the sales tax and go to online retailers

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